MX23RW : Thursday, October 28 07:39:32| >> :600:169172:169172:
Sep 25, 2021 at 5.30pm UK at Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán
En-Nesyri (13'), Mir (87')
Rakitic (56'), Delaney (65'), Lamela (81')
Delaney (65')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Sevilla vs. Espanyol - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Sevilla and Espanyol, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Sevilla will look to continue their strong start to the La Liga season on Saturday, when they welcome newly-promoted Espanyol to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Julen Lopetegui's side continued their unbeaten run with a 3-1 victory over Valencia last time out, while the visitors recorded their first win of the season on Wednesday.

Match preview

Sevilla head coach Julen Lopetegui pictured on April 4, 2021© Reuters

After a strong campaign last time around, finding themselves in a title race for the majority of the season before eventually finishing fourth, Sevilla began the new term with a 3-0 victory over newly-promoted Rayo Vallecano, before making it back-to-back wins as they defeated Getafe 1-0.

Lopetegui's side were then held by Elche, before drawing 1-1 at home to Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg in the opening Champions League group game, as Ivan Rakitic drew them level with a penalty after the visitors scored one of their three spot kicks in the first half.

Los Hispalenses then played out their third straight draw on their return to league action, earning a commendable point away at Real Sociedad, before returning to winning ways against Valencia last time out.

The two sides had both made strong starts to the season and sat in the top six, with Alejandro Gomez, Gonzalo Montiel and Rafa Mir getting on the scoresheet inside the first 25 minutes in a rampant first-half performance, before Lopetegui's men eventually went on to win 3-1.

They will now look to build on that with what would be their fourth league win of the season to see them maintain a place inside the top four.

Espanyol boss Vicente Moreno pictured in December 2019© Reuters

Espanyol arrive on the back of their first win of the season, having made a mixed start to the top-flight campaign.

Following their promotion from the second tier last year, Vicente Moreno's side began with commendable goalless draws against Osasuna and Europa League champions Villarreal, before losing narrowly to fellow promoted side Mallorca.

They then looked set to see out an impressive result against defending champions Atletico Madrid, having led 1-0 through Raul de Tomas, only for Yannick Carrasco to hit a 79th-minute equaliser and Thomas Lemar to net a dramatic winning goal in the ninth added minute at the end of the game.

Moreno's side have bounced back from those defeats in impressive fashion, firstly drawing 2-2 with Real Betis, thanks to Leandro Cabrera's 97th-minute equaliser, before earning their first league victory of the campaign last time out as a Raul de Tomas penalty made the difference in a 1-0 win over basement side Alaves.

That saw the Periquitos move up to 13th spot in the top flight, and with the ultimate aim of avoiding an immediate drop, they will be keen to build on that with another positive result on Saturday.

Sevilla La Liga form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W

Sevilla form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W

Espanyol La Liga form:
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W

Team News

Sevilla's Marcos Acuna celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on April 4, 2021© Reuters

Sevilla should come into the game with a clean bill of health, and Lopetegui will only make limited changes after Wednesday's impressive performance.

Given their recent scoring issues, Rafa Mir came into the XI in place of Youssef En-Nesyri last time out, and he scored in his first start, meaning the Spaniard should keep his place in the front three, potentially flanked again by Lucas Ocampos and Erik Lamela.

Alejandro Gomez took up a new role in the central trio, and the Argentinian international found the net inside the first three minutes, giving Lopetegui a good reason to keep the attack-minded midfielder in the starting XI.

Further back, Jules Kounde and Diego Carlos will again partner up at the heart of the back four, having conceded just two goals so far in La Liga this season.

On the contrary to their hosts, Espanyol have an extensive injury list to deal with, as Oier Olazabal, Javier Puado and Yangel Herrera are all sidelined, while former Sevilla man Aleix Vidal will also not feature against this old club after suffering a gruesome injury against Real Betis.

Raul de Tomas will continue to be the key man going forward, having hit two La Liga goals so far this term after firing them to promotion last season with 23 strikes.

Sevilla possible starting lineup:
Bounou; Montiel, Kounde, Carlos, Acuna; Fernando, Rakitic, Gomez; Lamela, Mir, Ocampos

Espanyol possible starting lineup:
Lopez; Gil, Gomez, Cabrera, Pedrosa; Morlanes, Bare; Embarba, Darder, Melamed; De Tomas

SM words green background

We say: Sevilla 2-0 Espanyol

While Espanyol have shown plenty of positive signs this season, we do not expect them to get a result from a tough trip to an unbeaten Sevilla side on Saturday.

Lopetegui has coached an impressive defensive line, while their attacking ranks should have more than enough to break the newly-promoted outfit down.

Top tip

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